Patrick Volkerding
Patrick Volkerding.jpg
Patrick Volkerding at Linuxworld 2000 NYC
Patrick John Volkerding[1]

(1966-10-20) October 20, 1966 (age 56)
OccupationSoftware engineer
Known forSlackware
SpouseAndrea (m. 2001)[2][3][4][5][6][7]
ChildrenBriah Cecilia Volkerding(b.2005)[2][8][6]
ParentDr. John Volkerding & Molly Jane Mullen[5][1]

Patrick Volkerding (born October 20, 1966) is the founder and maintainer of the Slackware Linux distribution. Volkerding is Slackware's "Benevolent Dictator for Life" (BDFL), and is also known informally as "The Man".[9]

Personal life

Volkerding earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 1993.[10] Volkerding is a Deadhead, and by April 1994 had already attended 75 concerts.[11]

Volkerding is a Church of the SubGenius affiliate/member. The use of the word slack in "Slackware" is an homage to J. R. "Bob" Dobbs. About the SubGenius influence on Slackware, Volkerding has stated: "I'll admit that it was SubGenius inspired. In fact, back in the 2.0 through 3.0 days we used to print a dobbshead on each CD."[12]

Volkerding is an avid homebrewer and beer lover.[11] Early versions of Slackware would entreat users to send him a bottle of local beer in appreciation for his work.

Volkerding was married in 2001 to Andrea and has a daughter Briah Cecilia Volkerding (b. 2005).[2][3][8]


In 2004, Volkerding announced via mailing list post that he was suffering from actinomycosis,[13] a serious illness requiring multiple rounds of antibiotics and with an uncertain prognosis. This announcement caused a number of tech news outlets to wonder about the future of the Slackware project.[14] As of 2012, both Volkerding and the Slackware project were reported to be in a healthy state again.[15]

Slackware Linux

Michael Johnston of Morse Telecommunications paid Volkerding $1 per copy sold. After that six-month contract, Robert Bruce of Walnut Creek CDROM began publishing Slackware as a CD-ROM set. Robert Bruce later became Volkerding's partner in Slackware Linux, Inc. with Volkerding owning a non-controlling, minority, 40% share.[16] Due to underpayment, Patrick Volkerding, "told them to take it down or I'd suspend the DNS for the Slackware store".[17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]

Walnut Creek CDROM,[25][26][27][28] 60% owner of Slackware Linux, Inc. was sold to BSDi[29][30] and later to Wind River Systems.[20][16]

Chris Lumens and others worked for Slackware, but due to underpayment, these people lost their jobs.[31][32][33][20][18][23]

For the last several years[when?] Volkerding has managed Slackware with the help of many volunteers and testers.


In 2014, Volkerding received the O'Reilly Open Source Award.[34]



  1. ^ a b Obituarie:Molly Volkerding(June 03, 1940 - March 14, 2014), Boulger Funeral Home, In 1966 they were blessed with a son, Patrick John...She is survived by her husband, John, her son Patrick (Andrea) Volkerding...
  2. ^ a b c Donating to Slackware, By volkerdi(Patrick), 20180723,
  3. ^ a b Slackware Updates, 2002-01-07,, ...This is the first update since the middle of December and here is the reason - Patrick Volkerding, the founder and currently the sole maintainer of the Slackware project was too busy getting married over the holiday season...
  4. ^ Welcome to Andrea Volkerding's not-a-home page!, honeypie,
  5. ^ a b Obituarie:Denise Mullen(November 28, 1914 - November 10, 2017), Boulger Funeral Home, ...Denise is survived by...son-in-law Dr. John Volkerding, Peroia, AZ: grandchildren:...Patrick Volkerding (Andrea), Sebeka, MN...
  6. ^ a b DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 130, 12 December 2005, ...Patrick Volkerding...were greeted with a rather unusual entry last weekend. "It's a girl!" declared the title of a new post, the first one in over a month. It turned out...had just had his first child: "I know a lot of you have been wondering what's going on here, and the news is that my wife Andrea delivered our first child, a daughter Briah Cecilia."...
  7. ^ Obituarie:Violet Volkerding(September 18, 1915 - February 10, 2009) INFORUM, ...Violet is survived by two sons...and John (Molly) of Fargo, four grandchildren,...Patrick (Andrea) Volkerding, Sebeka, MN...
  8. ^ a b Patrick Volkerding, 24th of July 2018, ArticleWorld, ...On December 10 2005, Patrick Volkerding announced that he has a daughter named Briah Cecilia...
  9. ^ The Slackware Linux Project: About This Site
  10. ^ Faces behind Linux — Part #1 Archived 2018-06-11 at the Wayback Machine, By Artem Nosulchik, April 2, 2009, LinuxScrew: Linux Blog
  11. ^ a b Interview with Patrick Volkerding
  12. ^ Slashdot | Replies from Slackware Founder Patrick Volkerding
  13. ^ Volkerding, Patrick (18 November 2004). "Last post?". Archived from the original on 18 November 2004. Retrieved 7 October 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  14. ^ "Patrick Volkerding battles mystery illness". Slashdot. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  15. ^ Varghese, Sam (7 May 2012). "Slackware is alive and kicking: Volkerding". iTWire. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  16. ^ a b "The Linux distribution that's always in the black". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 October 2002. Archived from the original on 2018-11-24. Retrieved 20 July 2021. Slackware started in early 1993, but it wasn't until the middle of 1994 that I was contacted by Michael Johnston of Morse Telecommunications and asked if I was interested in having them publish Slackware commercially...Since then, Slackware has always made enough money through publishing arrangements to be my full time job. I didn't stay with Morse long because they were only giving me $US1 per copy sold. When the initial six-month agreement expired, I moved on to Walnut Creek CDROM since they were better established and were willing to give Slackware a fair share of the profits. Their founder, Robert Bruce, is my current partner in Slackware Linux, Inc.
  17. ^ "Slackware Linux". Archived from the original on 14 March 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  18. ^ a b "[SOLVED] Donating to Slackware". Archived from the original on April 7, 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  19. ^ jake. "Financial woes for Slackware's Patrick Volkerding". Retrieved 20 July 2021. Patrick Volkerding, who is the founder and benevolent dictator for life of the Slackware Linux distribution, posted a note at detailing some financial problems. It appears they mostly stem from a deal that he made with the Slackware Store that has gone badly awry....Note that there is at least one person out there soliciting Bitcoin who is not affiliated with Volkerding, in what looks like a scam of some sort; it is particularly sad because that is similar to what he alleges has happened with Slackware Store as well.
  20. ^ a b c Varghese, Sam (25 July 2018). "Slackware creator in strife, claims store has not paid him". iTWire. Retrieved 20 July 2021. Volkerding said he had discovered how bad things were in 2017 when he managed to get some numbers out of the people running the store. "I thought the sales were just that bad, and was really rather depressed about it. Another side note – the ownership of the 60% portion of the store changed hands behind my back. Nobody thought they needed to tell me about this. At that point I'd say things got considerably worse for me." The commercialisation of Slackware was initially undertaken with Michael Johnston of Morse Telecommunications in 1994. After that, Volkerding moved to a venture with the founder of Walnut Creek CDROM, Robert Bruce. Later, Volkerding teamed up with Bruce to set up a Slackware company. iTWire has written to the Slackware store, seeking comment on Volkerding's claims.
  21. ^ Baader, Hans-Joachim. "Patrick Volkerding in finanziellen Schwierigkeiten". Pro-Linux (in German). Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  22. ^ Schürmann, Tim (27 July 2018). "Geldnöte: Slackware-Erfinder Patrick Volkerding um Einnahmen betrogen". Linux-Magazin (in German). Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  23. ^ a b "Slackware's finances". DistroWatch. 2018-07-25. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  24. ^ "Slackware seeks support through Patreon". DistroWatch. 2019-08-14. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  25. ^ "Yahoo - CRL Network Services Carries the Traffic of the Record-Breaking Walnut Creek CDROM FTP Site".
  26. ^ "Software Download Deals".
  27. ^[bare URL PDF]
  28. ^ "FreeBSD 1.0 GAMMA announcement - Computer History Wiki".
  29. ^ "Home". Archived from the original on 2001-04-08.
  30. ^[bare URL PDF]
  31. ^ "Company History".
  32. ^ "Linux Today - UPDATED: AllLinuxDevices: BSDi Acquired by Embedded Computing Firm Wind River". Archived from the original on 3 January 2005. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  33. ^ "Linux Today - Slackware Commercial Distribution Left in Doubt as Developers Are Laid off". Archived from the original on 5 January 2005. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  34. ^ "O'Reilly Open Source Awards - OSCON 2014". YouTube. O'Reilly. Retrieved 25 July 2014.